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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) in Italy: an Italian prevalence study basedon a two-step strategy in an area of Florence (Scandicci-Le Signe).

Maurizio Benucci, Angela Del Rosso, Francesca Li Gobbi, Mariangela Manfredi, Marco Matucci Cerinic, Carlo Salvarani

Med Sci Monit 2005; 11(9): CR420-425

ID: 428449


Background: The goal was to ascertain the prevalence of SLE in the populationover18 years of age in the Scandicci-Le Signe area of Florence, Italy, based on the records of generalpractitioners (GPs). Material/Methods: Twenty GPs screened 32,521 patients by administering the LupusScreening Questionnaire (LQS) and found 30 patients with suspected or definite diagnosis of SLE. To confirmthe diagnoses the patients were referred to a rheumatologist who conducted routine examinations and assessedantinuclear antibodies and SLE activity (ECLAM score). Results: Total population >18 years of age inthe three municipalities was 71,204 persons, with 42,474 in Scandicci, 15,368 in Lastra a Signa, and13,362 in Signa. In 23/30 patients diagnosed with SLE the diagnosis was confirmed. Eleven of the 23 SLEpatients were from Scandicci and 6 each from Lastra a Signa and Signa. An overall estimated prevalenceof SLE of 71/100,000 (1/1408; 95% CI=49, 92) was found in the total population of the three municipalities.Scandicci (95% CI=42, 121) had a rate of 81/100.000, while Lastra a Signa (95% CI=32, 92) and Signa (95%CI=36, 94) had estimated rates of 62/100,000 and 65/100,000, respectively. Medium ECLAM score was 4.68+/-1.81SD. Conclusions: This is the first epidemiological study on SLE prevalence in Italy. The prevalence andpoint prevalence are similar to other European studies. The LQS was also confirmed as an easy and reliabletool to assess SLE diagnosis in the Italian population.

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